The Animal Trail winds steeply up the east flank of Prosser Hill and takes you to a scenic viewpoint with great views of Prosser Creek Reservoir and beyond. It’s a relatively short hike to the top with a variety of route options. Go early, this is a popular spot for downhill mountain bikers.
There are two options for a start/finish point for this trail.
The first is on Highway 89 across from the Donner Camp Picnic Site (about 2.8 miles north of Highway 80). Park either at the picnic area itself and cross Highway 89 to begin the route or park on the west side of 89 – there is plenty of parking here which will avoid a highway crossing.
The second is on Alder Creek Road, about a mile and a half west of the intersection of Alder Creek and Highway 89. The parking area is located on the south side of Alder Creek Road and the trail begins across the road on the West side.
4.5 miles (Animal Crackers) to 5.8 miles (Animal) with options to extend
Approximately 700 ft (Animal Crackers) to 1,000 ft (Animal)
Animal and Animal Crackers follow much of the same route with the exception of about 1.3 miles which is avoided via a cutoff for Animal Crackers. Both routes involve a steep climb with tight turns and switchbacks, but with a pleasant, smooth, and bit more gradual decent if running clockwise and vice versa if running counterclockwise.
The 1.3 miles of added terrain for Animal comes with an additional and very technical 300 feet of climbing elevation. The effort is rewarded with beautiful views to the east of Prosser Reservoir.
Best Time to Go
Early morning! This is a heavily used mountain bike route and is also a legal and designated motorcycle/dirt bike route. Mountain bike and dirt bike traffic tend to be heavier in late morning and afternoons. Run or ride without headphones so you can be sure to hear your surroundings and other trail users.
Animal Trail Map
Animal Trail from Highway 89 start
Animal Crackers Trail from East Alder start
Ready to keep exploring? Discover more hiking trails in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe.
Mone Haen is a Truckee-based ultrarunner and regular TMS contributor